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Niger farmers slaughter prized tourism hippos

July 19, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Fed up with rampaging hippopotamuses wrecking their crops, farmers in the African country of Niger have taken the law into their own hands and killed at least 27 of the giant animals in an area the government is trying to develop as a wildlife-based tourist attraction.

Ayorou, about 200 kilometres from the Niger capital Niamey, is known for its many hippos and for its numerous bird species, drawing tourists from around the world.

The prefect of the Ayorou region, Jando Rhichi Algaher, was quoted by French-based news service AFP as saying the “massacre” began in March and then “assumed dramatic proportions”.

 

Troops have been ordered to step up patrols of island settlements on the Niger river to help slow the slaughter, Algaher said.

Hippos dozing

Hippopotamuses are protected in Niger. Tension is currently running high in Ayorou after about 10 people were arrested on suspicion of killing a hippo.

The clash reflects conflict between farmers and wildlife, a problem likely to become more common, with Africa recording the world’s fastest growth in human population.

Hippos are spectacular but unpredictable. Very fast over short distances, they kill more people in Africa than any other land animal. They also sometimes emerge from the water to chomp down on canoes, with fatal results to the occupants.

Written by Peter Needham

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